Friday, April 24, 2015

My Thoughts about Pregnancy

Wow!  I am a horrible blogger.  September 1, 2014???  That was my last post?  Too funny. ... I've been seeing my friend Emily's blog for so many months (over at The Thought Spot) ... she is a fantastic blogger ... blogging often and about her beautiful baby, Belle.  I won't try to reach her expertise and consistency, but I'm just a couple weeks away from having my own baby girl, and I've been thinking about recording some thoughts about my pregnancy before it's too late, and I'm no longer pregnant.

Yesterday, marked my 38th week of my first pregnancy.  Overall, my pregnancy has been fantastic ... from the standpoint of a healthy mama and a healthy baby ... but not so fantastic from this mama's perspective.  Haha!  Honestly, I really don't like being pregnant.  In the first 3 months, I wondered if I'd ever get pregnant again (as much as I have control over that!).  I was pretty confident I was pregnant by week three or four of my pregnancy.  I started having consistent cramping that kept me up at night for about a week and a half or so.  Then, once that went away, the nausea started in full swing ... the all day, all night kind ... not just morning sickness.  Darrell and I decided to give it a good 6 weeks before we took a pregnancy test just to be sure.  So the weekend of our 2nd year anniversary, I went in to his work (he worked at a health center at the time) to take a pregnancy test.  And yep, I was right!  Definitely pregnant with an expected due date of May 7, 2015.  Although I was already over the nausea, we were both elated and started telling everyone that weekend.

As the weeks went on, the nausea only got worse.  Let me just say that I was a big baby about it.  Many women go through much, much worse things in pregnancy and even worse nausea than I did.  But for a woman who pretty much always feels good, apart from a handful of migraines throughout the year, it was rough going to work and living life feeling awful all day and all night everyday.  And I did NOT handle it well.  From about weeks 5 through 13 or 14 of my pregnancy, I was nauseous constantly ... thank God, I finally got a hold of some nausea medicine, which helped tremendously, but I still felt bad a decent amount of the time.  To be quite honest, I was a selfish jerk during those weeks of pregnancy.  I cried a lot out of frustration and anger .... yes, I was even mad at God for allowing pregnancy to be so awful and for allowing ME to feel so bad.  Again, selfishness, I know.  I wasn't really even excited about the baby during that time, and it really started to affect Darrell.  I also struggled with lots of anxiety and self-condemnation.  I knew I was being selfish.  I knew I was not keeping the right perspective about my TEMPORARY suffering.  I constantly had thoughts like, "if I can't handle nausea, how am I gonna be a good mom to this baby?"  "If I can't be selfless when I feel ill for a time, then how am I gonna take care of this baby and raise her to rise above her own selfishness?"  "I'm going to be such a failure as a mom ... and I'm definitely being a failure as a wife right now!"  I worried and worried and was angry and felt guilty and battled my flesh and cried out to God and cried.  It wasn't as bad as I made it out to be, if we really get down to it.  But for me, those first few months of pregnancy were awful because I was in an awful place spiritually.

But God never gave up on me!  One Sunday morning, our worship leader read part of Psalm 27 before the singing began.  It spoke to me so much, so I went home, grabbed a handful of my Bible translations, and started reading, specifically, verses 13 and 14 in the NIV, ESV, NLT, NKJV, and NASB.  And the NASB did me in!
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:13-14)
I read this translation, and I immediately burst into tears!  It was one of those leap-off-the-page-and-smack-you-in-the-head kind of moments with the Lord.  But it was a gentle smack. ;)  Probably better put, it was one of those moments when God really speaks His love and Truth into your heart, and it really sinks in.  He was gentle about it.  In that moment, I realized how I HAD been despairing.  I was despairing in my struggle with nausea, not seeing it as temporary but never-ending and making everything in my life more difficult.  I was despairing because I was not seeing the JOY of growing a human being, loved by God and loved by me and Darrell too.  Ultimately, I was despairing because I was NOT believing in God's goodness.  I did not see anything about being pregnant, growing a baby, starting a new adventure in my life, or anything else as being good.  And I wallowed in guilt about my selfish attitude.  So God, ever so gently, reminded me that day to REMEMBER HIS GOODNESS.  He sees me as good because I am His child.  He gave me and Darrell this baby, and that is good.  Our life with our little Haddie girl will be good and is already good.  Everything was good.  Everything will be good.  Because God has a plan, and God is always, always in control. ... After that day, things truly did get better.  I still felt bad a lot, and I still had my lack of perspective days, but, thankfully, the nausea started to subside and so did my angry, ungrateful, selfish perspective about my circumstances.  God began renewing my perspective day after day.

Now don't get me wrong, I still didn't enjoy being pregnant.  To this day, I'm not a fan, and I pray I don't get pregnant again right away once Haddie gets here.  For all you pregnant ladies out there, I have continued to have unpleasant pregnancy pains.  Give a "holla!" if you can identify with constipation (yes, I went there first!), sciatica, nasal congestion, swollen gums, round ligament pains, swollen hands and feet, migraines, food aversions, a wacky gag reflex, backaches, restless sleep (if any), constant tummy "yuckies", as I like to call 'em, and more.  And that doesn't even count all the fear and anxiety about being a good mom or labor and delivery!  Whew!  I have struggled with that on an off throughout my pregnancy too ... terrified of the pain but not wanting to be selfish about it.  Thankfully, I have had so much support from friends and family ... lots of advice and prayers.  And I've been praying.  I've invited Jesus to be in my delivery room so many times.  And I am so grateful for the peace He has been giving me.  I'm still pretty nervous ... waiting for those first Braxton Hicks contractions ... and then the real ones - eeek!  But I am believing in God's goodness, and I know that He is already in my delivery room, going before me, and coming after me.  So I am a lot more at ease.  And planning to get an epidural doesn't hurt that peace at all either. ;) And one thing is for sure, I have been learning to trust God in new ways through this pregnancy.  And I'm learning valuable lessons about myself.  And I'm growing in my faith.  All things God intends to happen when we experience new seasons of life.  He's always wanting us to change and grow and know Him better through our life experiences.

All in all, I'd love it if I never had to be pregnant again.  But I'm confident that holding my baby Haddie in my arms for the first time, loving her and raising her and watching her grow ... and experiencing God's love in a brand-new, life-changing way ... will make me want another baby!  So we'll just take it all one day at a time, one baby at a time, and trust God for HIS plans. ... Darrell and I are so excited to meet our precious, little girl ... she'll be here any time!  God is so good to teach us and be patient with us through each season and each bad attitude and each thankful moment.  No matter what, He is always with us, always at work, and He never ever gives up on us.  I'm ready to keep growing in trust and thanksgiving in this new season as a new mama.  Thank you, Jesus, for our Hadassah Ruth!  And thank you, Jesus, for working in my life everyday!